If you wish to take care of your health and appearance, you need to make sure that your triglycerides are under control. An increase in the triglyceride levels in your blood can bring about a plethora of health complications and unsavory consequences. In this article, you will know about what triglycerides are, the benefits of keeping them low, and the methods to reduce them.
What Are Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of lipid found in your blood. When you eat more than you require, the excess calories are not expelled from your system. Rather your body will convert them into triglycerides and store them in the fat tissues. These triglycerides are fast and easy reserves of energy for the body. When you are not eating, various hormones in your body will break down the triglycerides and provide energy for you to perform various physiological functions and other activities.
Your triglycerides can be measured by a simple blood test. You need to fast for 12 hours before the test for the results to be accurate.
|Triglyceride Level (mg/dL)||Inference|
|Less than 150||Normal|
|Above 500||Very high|
Having triglycerides beyond the prescribed levels is known as a condition called hypertriglyceridemia.
Benefits of Having Low Triglyceride Levels
To understand the benefits of having a low triglyceride value, you need to take a look at the complications and health issues that a high value can bring about.
High triglycerides can cause high blood pressure, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and increase the risks of heart diseases. It can bring upon type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, and other rare genetic conditions that prevent proper conversion of fat to energy.
High triglycerides can also occur as a side effect of medication. If you are taking any of the following medicines, it can cause a spike in your triglyceride value.
- Certain immuno-suppressants
- Certain HIV medications
Do consult your physician if you are taking one or more medicines from this list.
How to Reduce Triglycerides
You can follow some easy steps to make sure that your triglycerides are not shooting through the roof.
- Exercise regularly
Regular exercise can help you to keep your triglycerides under check. Aerobic exercise can increase the levels of high-density cholesterol or HDL in your blood which can in turn help to lower your triglycerides. Walking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc. come under examples of aerobic exercises.
Some studies show that high-intensity exercise for a shorter period of time is more beneficial than low-intensity exercise for a longer period of time. However, some other studies show the opposite results. But one things is for sure, any form of exercise will help you to keep your triglycerides under check.
- Maintain a healthy body weight
If you are overweight, try to shed those extra pounds. Since triglycerides are stored in fat cells, losing fat is a shortcut to reduce triglycerides. Try to maintain a weight that is in the recommended range for you.
- Consume less sugar
The extra sugar that you consume is very easily converted to triglycerides in your blood. Controlling and minimizing sugar intake can help you lower the levels of triglycerides in your blood. Cut out all fizzy drinks, sugary treats, and desserts to get an instant effect on triglycerides. Even if you wish to indulge yourself to something sweet, make sure that you are exercising portion control.
- Reduce carbohydrate intake
If you have a sedentary lifestyle with less physical activity, you need to eat low-carb meals to keep your triglyceride levels low. Like sugar, carbohydrates too get easily converted to triglycerides in your blood. Choose complex carbohydrates and reduce portion sizes to solve this problem.
- Reduce or give up alcohol intake
Consider giving up alcohol as it contains sugar and calories mostly that can effectively spike up your triglycerides. Drinking in moderation may not be that harmful for you but binge drinking harms your body the most. So, even if you cannot quit drinking, abstain from binge drinking to preserve your health.
- Avoid trans-fat completely
Trans fat is usually added to certain processed food items artificially in order to increase the shelf life of those. Fried foods, confectionery products, desserts often contain hydrogenated oils that are crucial factors in increasing your triglyceride levels. Cut them out completely as there is absolutely nothing good about trans fat.
- Include unsaturated fats in your meals
Ingesting unsaturated fats can help you to control your triglyceride levels. Consider replacing all trans fat in your diet with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Eat a variety of nuts, avocados, olive oil, etc. as these foods are rich in monounsaturated fats. Include fatty fish in your diet and try to use vegetable oils for cooking as they are a good source of polyunsaturated fats.
Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herrings, tuna, mackerel, etc. are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating them regularly will lower your triglyceride levels and keep your heart in good health too.
- Eat fiber-rich foods
Eating fiber-rich foods can prevent the excess absorption of fat and sugar in your small intestine, which in turn helps to lower the triglyceride levels in your blood. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, etc. are all good sources of fiber.
- Eat more proteins
Eat high protein food items to keep your triglyceride levels under check. You can include lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, soy protein, etc. in your diet to make sure that your triglyceride levels are not too high.
- Stick to your meal times
When you do not eat your meals on time, you cause short-term as well as long-term damages to your body. One such possible damage is insulin resistance which can lead to increase of triglyceride levels in your blood. Irregular meal patterns can decrease insulin sensitivity, thereby leaving your body vulnerable to an onslaught of various diseases.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that is stored in your blood when you consume more calories than you need. Having a high triglyceride level can lead to heart diseases, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and other harmful diseases and complications. But you have control in this matter because there are some very easy steps for you to implement if you wish to keep your triglyceride values in check. These are simple changes like controlling your weight, exercising regularly, limiting sugar intake, etc. Adopt these habits right away and gift yourself a healthier future.